Walking through Time: the 5,000-Year History of the URI Campus

I am of another language; remember me

This large stone monolith outside the library represents the only visible acknowledgement at URI of the Narragansett Nation. Completed in 1994, it is the work of Newport artist and artisan John Benson. Carved into the stone is “Nippenowantawem” a word drawn from Roger Williams’ book A Key Into the Language of America. The published translation is, ‘I am of another language, I am of another language, remember me, remember me’.

Kristine Bovy, Professor of Anthropology, URI; Catherine DeCesare, Assistant Professor of History, URI; Roderick Mather, Professor of History, URI; and Lorén Spears, Executive Director, Tomaquag Museum

In 2017, the University of Rhode Island marked its 125th anniversary. The land on which the university sits, however, has a much longer and more complicated history, which is invisible to most members of the campus community. Ancestors of the Narragansett, the only federally recognized tribe in this area, lived and worked here for millennia prior to the arrival of Europeans. Archaeological work performed prior to the construction of the Ryan Center in the 1990s also revealed a late 18th century burial ground associated with the Niles family, which likely contains the remains of enslaved Africans and Indigenous people, part of the tumultuous history of Rhode Island.

Join us for a panel discussion of the history of this land and how it is (and is not) memorialized on campus today. An optional walking tour of URI campus will follow.

Read Marybeth Reilly-McGreen’s article, “A Walk Through Time” from University of Rhode Island Magazine‘s Fall 2022 issue.

Watch a recording of the presentation below.

Sponsored by the Center for the Humanities, College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Department of History, Applied History Lab and the Tomaquag Museum